MONTREAL – An internal investigation by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra into sexual harassment allegations against prominent conductor Charles Dutoit has proven inconclusive, the orchestra announced.
The orchestra launched the probe into alleged workplace harassment last December after receiving a complaint against the Swiss-born Dutoit, who was the orchestra’s artistic director from 1977 to 2002.
During the course of the investigation, a second sexual harassment complaint was lodged against Dutoit, the orchestra said.
But after having met with both unnamed complainants “on several occasions,” the independent expert concluded that “the process did not yield sufficient information in relation to allegations of sexual harassment,” the orchestra said in a news release.
In light of the investigation, “the two plaintiffs did not wish to follow up on their grievances and did not consider it opportune to provide formal declarations with respect to these allegations,” the statement continued. The probe concluded in mid-October.
“We sincerely empathize with the two plaintiffs who decided, for reasons entirely their own, not to follow up on their complaints in the context of this investigation,” said Madeleine Careau, the orchestra’s CEO. “We respect their personal choice.”
Several women told The Associated Press in January that Dutoit assaulted them in the United States, France and Canada between 1985 and 2010. The 82-year-old Grammy-winning conductor has emphatically denied the allegations, which have not been proven in court.
Other musicians told Montreal media outlets La Presse and Le Devoir that Charles Dutoit would repeatedly insult, humiliate and verbally lash out at musicians when he was the orchestra’s artistic director.
Following the investigation, the orchestra has agreed to tighten and broaden its workplace harassment policy in response to the expert’s recommendations.
The proposed policy will explicitly cover all musicians and invited artists, as well as office staff, during and outside normal working hours.
The organization will also launch a series of anti-harassment workshops and activities beginning next spring.
The new policy is being discussed with the province’s professional musicians’ guild before it is submitted for adoption.